Posts Tagged ‘Depression’

Today is my stop on the ‘Dangerous to Know’ Blog Tour.

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First a bit about the novel:
‘Dangerous to Know’ by Australian author Anne Buist features troubled forensic psychiatrist Natalie King, who is back from a stay on the psych ward. Seeking a quieter life, she retreats to the countryside on a secondment, but Natalie and trouble have a strange mutual fascination, and she finds herself drawn deep into a mystery that puts her in danger.

My Review:
Like some other reviewers I hadn’t realised this was the second book in a series about forensic psychiatrist Natalie King. And while not having read the first book did not spoil my enjoyment of the second, I did find ‘Dangerous to Know’ a bit hard to follow. Something which I might have avoided if I had read the first novel in the series. There are a lot of characters in this book, some of which I now know were in the first book ‘Medusa’s Curse’ and also a lot of action to take in.

Anne Buist[3448]

Anne Buist


The story benefits enormously from Anne Buist’s own experience of working in the field of psychiatry. It meant that the leading characters that had mental health problems, of which there were a number, were convincing and their characterisation was deepened as a result. Although sometimes I found Natalie’s analysis of their condition distracted from the narrative. But for those seeking to know more about being bipolar, postpartum depression and personality disorder this is an additional fascinating context.
I liked Natalie King a lot. She’s a rebel with bipolar who recently had treatment herself for severe depression and I think there is more about the circumstance that brought this about in book one. She is sassy, intelligent and independent. Anne Buist does an excellent job of placing the reader in Natalie’s head. I could connect to her emotionally in a way I didn’t with most of the other characters. I didn’t warm to Frank the main antagonist and found his alternate first person narration irritating, but perhaps I was supposed to. At first I was convinced he was the one who was dangerous to know but as I read on I kept changing my mind about who it really was, and the reveal at the end came as a surprise.
I did find the first half of the book hard to follow but it was worth the effort as the pace picked up and the plot moved in diverse directions ‘Dangerous to Know’ is an intellectually satisfying book and well worth reading if only to see if you can work out who has done what and why.
Many thanks to Lucy at Legend Press for giving me the opportunity to review this novel.

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‘Dare to Remember’ is not shocking in the way that ‘The Girl on the Train’ or ‘The Book of You’ is shocking. It offers shivers of anticipation rather than moments of full blown terror. In fact the details of the attack that protagonist Lisa is trying so hard to remember doesn’t really emerge until well into the book. So, this book may not be shocking and it’s not a thriller in the usual sense but it is certainly an intriguing page turner.

Lisa is a likeable character who is easy for the reader to empathise with as we share her regular visits to her psychologist on her journey towards recovery. The overwhelming fear of living, which descends after her violent trauma, comes vividly alive on the page and graphically illustrates how such an experience can ruin your life. Living in the confines of a self-imposed isolation, Lisa doesn’t share her life with many other people, even her loving mother is kept at arm’s length. But her relationship with her neighbour John and fellow dog walker Jessica are beautifully described as Lisa finds that overcoming her own fears to support other people massively helps her conquer her own demons.

The descriptions of Lisa’s therapy and search for self help solutions feel authentic. If you want to know more about survivor guilt and post traumatic stress disorder, then as well as being a satisfying read this book will take you through the experience and compel you to read on to find out how successful Lisa is in her journey .
Legend Press sent me an advance copy of ‘Dare to Remember’ in return for an honest review.

Tim WeaverWhat RemainsWhat Remains is the 6th book in the David Raker series about a missing person investigator. It is a haunting, intriguingly dark novel. I was lucky enough to attend Tim Weaver’s author talk at the Yeovil Literary Festival in October when he said he was trying something different in this novel, although he didn’t say what it was. I think it’s the fact that Raker who has always been such a loner now has a ‘sidekick’ for much of the early part of the story in the shape of ex-cop ‘Healey’. Yes, this book is big on single second names. But if you are a Raker fan, read it for yourself and see what you think is different.

In What Remains both Raker and Healey are haunted by the horrible murder of two children and their mother, described in the opening pages of the book. It affects both men deeply causing them to skim the depths of depression and as such they are often not best placed to support each other. But this is riveting and disturbing stuff. Raker and Healey’s turmoil is our turmoil as Healey self destructs pulling Raker down with him. The novel has a strong sense of brutal realism as it touches on themes of homelessness, depression and mental illness. With a plot that twists around shocking and surprising events and clever misdirection.

The novel is written in such a way that you don’t need to have read the earlier Raker stories to follow and enjoy it. Weaver drops the back story into the action in a subtle and unobtrusive way. But if you have read the other books in the series, What Remains provides a satisfying resolution to a plot thread that runs throughout the series.

In conclusion, this is a complex satisfying crime novel worthy of a five star review. It won’t disappoint fans of Raker and if you haven’t come across him before then this is as good a place as any to start – then go back and read the earlier books.